Saturday, September 22, 2012

Please Help My Cat

We found out a few weeks ago that our cat Max has cancer. It is obstructing his mouth and growing on his tongue. He cannot eat and can barely take down liquid. He is in a lot of pain, and we cannot afford his treatment. Unfortunately we are looking at the only humane option left, which is helping him pass on and ending his pain. It is an excruciating decision, but we want what is best for Max. I have had him for over 12 years, and he was already a full adult when I got him. He has been my friend, guardian, confidant and protector of our family. He deserves so much for than living in pain and starving to death. Please help us help him find his way to the other side painlessly. This is how he is now, sick, unable to clean himself. My poor baby.
This is how he used to be: healthy, happy and noisy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best of the Best Part Deux

So I return to give you all another heaping helping of my recommendations for super great gifts for the holiday season.

These are my recommendations, based on what I have read and also my desire to support other authors. I read a wide range of items, so I like to create a broad spectrum.

Here we go!

5. "I'm the Vampire, That's Why" by Michele Bardsley
It is, in fact, a series called "Broken Heart." Real world style moms and dads are turned into vampires, and how the heck are they supposed to get their kids to listen to them now that everybody gets to stay up all night? It's a fantastic, funny, sexy series, and not to be missed.

Check out Michele Bardsley here:

Pick up her books here:

6. "Death's Daughter" by Amber Benson

I freaking LOVE this series. It's the stories of Calliope Reaper-Jones who just happens to be Death's Daughter trying to live in real world New York without all that macabre stuff. But due to her heritage she is repeatedly sucked back in and must balance her duties with her desire to move up in the real world. So snarky, so similar to people I know, and Amber B. is a total sweetie.

Check out Amber Benson here:

Buy her books here:

7. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
If you don't know who Terry Pratchett is, then you are either A) dead or B) missing out on some of the best British humor since Douglas Adams. Discworld is fantasy gone awry, with wizzards who are in constant peril, Luggage that is so dangerous you can't go near it, and a world that rides on the back of a giant turtle. Seriously. Pick up one of these books, and be prepared for a big investment in the rest of the series.

Check out Terry Pratchett here:

Go buy the books here:

8. The Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series books 1-10 by Laurell K. Hamilton
Okay, so there are more than 10 in the series; in fact, I think it's closer to 20 at this point. I recommend the first 10 because they are the best: the characters have unique personalities, there are multiple plot lines, the sex is good, and they read very fast. After book 10, I lost interest. BUT, that's not to say you won't. Her heroine, Anita Blake, is (in the beginning) as sassy, bad-ass, and stubborn as you want, she raises zombies for a living, and after much debate begins dating the undead. She's a hell of a character and one you want to revisit over and over again. So check it out.

Check out Laurell K. Hamilton here:

Buy the Anita Blake series here:

9. The Domain Trilogy by Steve Alten
Steve Alten is a recent fave of mine: I grabbed "Domain" at a discount store, and got totally hooked. It's a Mayan prophecy book, and it's nothing like you'd expect in a seriously good way. This deals with the Mayan world as more of an alien civilization, the connection between modern people and mythical ones, and the ultimate battle that is coming. Books 1 and 2 are astounding, getting grittier with each story, and I'm waiting on Book 3. Steve A. also writes a "Meg" series, regarding the Megaladon shark, and I can't wait to, er, sink my teeth into it. Har, har. And Mr. Alten is a very genuine, encouraging person. Just FYI.

Check out more about Steve Alten here:

Buy the books here:

10. Anything by Eloisa James, but I will recommend "A Kiss at Midnight."
I may be the last person you'd expect to really go for a tried-and-true romance novel, but I Admit it: there are times when even I like a good old-fashioned bodice-ripping, melt you at the knees book. Eloisa James has a plethora of books to choose from, and they vary so widely in how they go about that it's easy to pick up one and want to sample them all. "A Kiss at Midnight", for example, is a Cinderella story, and it's fantasmic! Loads of good stuff. Don't be afraid to give the romance novel a shot: I promise it's worth the effort.

Check out Eloisa James here:

Buy the books here:

11. "Circle of Isis" by Ellen Cannon Reed
I would be remiss to not include a good starter for my personal choice, Egyptian paganism. I really enjoy this book because it gives simple methods for how to use the gods in your own life, and how to look back on past traditions (as best we can) to use them today. Personal advocation here :)

Check out more of Ellen Cannon Reed here:

Buy the book here:

12. And finally, the obligatory and thoroughly fabulous: "1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's" by Ellen Notbohm, Veronica Zysk and Temple Grandin

I think everyone knows that I have a child who is on the spectrum, so Autism is my cause. Having a child on the spectrum can be more difficult than you would imagine, and I am even one of the lucky ones as my child does not have as many challenges as so many others do. It's impossible to know where you're going when you first get the diagnosis, and how do you know where to turn?

This is a great place to go to. Temple Grandin, one of the authors, is a real world hero: having taught herself to live with autism and how to function in the real world, she is a legend. Most people don't know how to interact with a child on the spectrum, and the fact is, you never stop learning. I will be learning for the rest of my life. This book is a great map to help you on your way. It's also a wonderful guide for those who just want to learn.

Check out more here:
And here:

Buy the book here:

Now to my favorite bit: advocacy. This holiday season, if you're not into buying gifts, don't know what to get, or just want to do something different, may I suggest donations? There are so many places that need funding, so many people who need help. I have several that I am always championing for:

1. Autism, re: Arizona Autism United, Autism Speaks, SAARC, S.E.E.K.

2. March of Dimes

3. St. Jude's Children's Hospital/Phoenix Children's Hospital

4. Child Crisis Center

I am huge into helping out children. They are the ones who need help the most on so many levels, and it is they who suffer because of budget cuts, program cuts, bad decisions, bad environments, etc. So if you don't feel books are on the list this year, consider donating to one of my favorite places. Or find one of your own. I don't think anything fits the holiday season better than giving.

So that wraps it up for now! I hope every single person is enjoying the season no matter what you celebrate, even if it's nothing at all. Love those around you. Be kind and patient. Give something back to the world and smile. Remember that there is always a reason worth living, and even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Wait. I've heard that somewhere before...

10 points and a cookie to the person who can tell me where that came from!

Happy holidays in advance, and many blessings forthwith!


Monday, November 28, 2011


It's that marvelous time again! Time to tear out your hair--or the hair of whoever's standing next to you--as you struggle to realize WHY you didn't get those presents earlier in the year.

Never fear, dear readers, I have the perfect solution!

Actually, make that TWO or more perfect solutions. If you're here, then that means you're either a terrific friend, an avid reader who stumbled upon a random blog, or you got misdirected and are questioning why you are here. Whatever the reason, there is hope for the holidays, because I am going to give you the rundown on some of the best deals you will ever hope to get.

Books are generally on 80% of people's wish lists; if they're not, they're probably my husband or just like him. So what are some great ideas for the book lover?

Silly you! Here are my picks and self-plugging:

1. "What Might Have Been" by Margaret Mater.
Seriously. If I didn't plug myself, what good would I be? Here's the links you can go forth and spend: SUPER good deals here. Barnes & Noble

Fantastic, right? Just google me (you dirty you!) and I pop up quite a few places.

Don't forget to check out the book trailer

2. "In Plain Sight" by Michele Briere
Needing a new book for the Kindle? Check out this fabulous first offering from Michele: it's Sci-Fi. It's pagan. It's adventure. It's fantabulous!

Buy it here:

3. The Mists of Ireland series by Erin Quinn
I LOVE the series: it's Ireland and magic and studly guys and likeable females... great romances for the lady you know needs a new series to read.

Buy them here: and then check out her website:

3. Jennifer Ashley/Allyson James
The "Stormwalker" series as Allyson James is one of my favorites. You have a Navajo main heroine who is as kick ass as you like, a great guy named Mick who is a dragon, and loads of Navajo lore and Arizona landscape to keep you interested. Buy them Now.

Get them here: Then check out her website here:

4. Richelle Mead's "Succubus" series.
Never has being a succubus been so entertaining! She's smart, sexy, and doesn't want to drain the life out of any more men. Richelle writes so wonderfully, you can't help but laugh at the pitfalls her characters get into.

Get them here: and go to her website here:

Well, kids, that's my update for now. I will return with further recommendations.

In the meantime, you've got some good ideas, so go forth! Purchase! Support your local writers! Be kind to small animals and put your shoes away!

All righty. Have a great day, guys!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Settling in and Moving On

There are times when I think I could just sit at the desk and stare at the fountain outside for hours. Since we recently moved, one of our balconies now overlooks a giant fountain in the main parking lot. I'm not usually a water person. I appreciate water and all, but it's not my focus; I'm an earth sign. My son is a water baby. Still, it's hypnotic to watch the way the water rises up and continually falls down in a never-ending rush, spraying out over the three tiers and cascading back into the pool at the bottom. The sound itself entwines the senses, sort of like white noise, blocking out all sorts of random real world noise.

I'm pondering bad karma. A friend of mine told me I've accumulated quite a bit of it here in Arizona, that I'm not supposed to be here. Here, as in Arizona, or here, as in Mesa/Phoenix? It's a fair question, and I do believe she has a point. Since we've been out here, we've experienced bad vibe after bad vibe: constant financial distress, many problems with the cars--each incident right after another, dissatisfaction in our marriage, my husband's job woes, my job woes, etc. The only thing that's worked out has been (finally) the service for our son.

It's quite a conundrum. I love Arizona, I love the area we're in. I love the fact that we can drive two hours in any direction and hit something really neat. I've always felt a connection with the place--although maybe that's more with different areas. Like Tombstone, for instance. Or Sedona.

On the flip side, my hubby has been unhappy here nearly since he got here. With the bad things that have happened, I can't say as I blame him.

We have a history of moving out here. We got here in October 07. Moved two years later. August 2011, and we just got into a new place. Two years seems to be the key where we keep moving. Well, as we just now moved I don't see us going in the immediate future.

But if we were to move, where to? We had thought of Las Vegas before my son got his services, as some of my family is up there. Kansas, while the place where the rest of our families reside, is the last place I want to go back to. I hate Kansas; sorry, but it's not where I want to be. Love all the people, but not the actual living there.

So what's the right answer then? If we don't belong here, then where do we belong?

All I know is I am sick and tired of trials and tribulations. I want to rest. I want to relax. I want to be able to enjoy life instead of surviving it. Those moments of respite are thirsted after like--pun intended--water in the desert. I crave stability, peace and an ability to enjoy things. I don't want an ulcer. Or an aneurism. I feel like I'm going to have both sometimes.

It can't be time, though. Of course, I've never been good at reading signs, omens, that sort of shtick. Usually things have to smack me in the face before I get it.

I'm adrift right now, in so many ways. I don't feel like there's a good port anywhere. (Erg, sea metaphors.)

Maybe the truth is, there is no safe harbor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pre-Dawn Thoughts

It's 5 a.m and I am awake, getting ready for work.

The nice thing about this time of day is that it's quiet... except for the hamster that is currently going to town on her wheel. And the occasional yowl from one of my cats. But other than that, quiet.

We finally finished moving, and now comes the dreaded unpacking and organizing. The nice thing about it, is it's yet another opportunity to go through old items, rationalize what to keep, and give away others to needier homes. Yesterday I gave away a couple of purses and a hat, among other things, to a friend.

The writing process can be very similar. Rather, the editing process. It's interesting: whenever I go through past works, I can be very hard on them. I bemoan certain creative decisions, long for new ones, and ponder the justification of starting over again.

I have stories I've written at different periods in my life that certainly reflect those times, thus affecting the voice in each story. Can't say as I'm pleased with all of them, but then I wonder, should I change them? After all, the voice of each story is unique, and sometimes it's very difficult to recapture that voice once it's been dormant for awhile. If I'm lucky, a little tweaking is all I need. In the more standard scenario, a very big rewrite is required.

Then again, if I could focus on one thing at a time, I'd probably accomplish a lot more!

Perhaps my ability to wax eloquent will come after my first cup of coffee. I'm going to assume that. In the meantime, have a great day, all!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Lazily Lapsing and Other Proactive feats

Good morning, all!

Last I spoke, I was obsessed with Harry Potter. Still am, but I think I'm managing to get my life under control now. I will merely say this: the first time I watched the movie, I was grossly disappointed in it. It was not the way I'd pictured it at all. So many things were left out or altered! Gah!

Then I got my disappointment out of the way, and saw it again, and cried like a little girl throughout the whole thing. Being able to appreciate it as it is, it does seem a fitting end. Except for the fact they blatantly did not have Harry repair his wand. What??? Don't look at me like that--Harry loved his phoenix wand, and he made sure to repair it before getting rid of the Elder Wand!

Okay, okay. Fact: emotional journey, utterly complete, and there better be a hell of a lot of deleted scenes on the DVD. And I want to huggle the entire cast.

As of late, I've been inundated with loads of new ideas for books. Sadly, I have not been inundated with loads of words to write, nor time to use. What's a girl to do? I currently have some new folders on my computers with ideas ready to use. Now the words need to come back.

I think it's time for a visit to my old friend and muse, Thoth. After all, he's the Guy with the Words.

It's very difficult to shove through the blockage of words and get going again. A few things that I find helpful are:

1. Leaving it alone. Sometimes when it's all ready, everything will start back up on its own.

2. Having a writing sprint. Just write for a short amount of time, about anything, it doesn't have to make sense. It's a fabulous tool. Make sure you have the volume up or the evilness will not work.

3. Do a search online for writing exercises: there are some great ones at I.e: take a picture and write a story about it. That's one I'm saving for the writing group.

4. Write about your day in the form of a monologue. You can make it simple, straight forward, or embellish it.

5. Keep a dream journal. Sometimes inspiration will come from those kooky things in your subconscious. Make sure it's by your bed so as soon as you wake up you can write it down. Great fodder there!

6. Write a fan fiction. Seriously. Love Torchwood? Can't get enough Potter? Want to do Star Trek? Hell, want to continue a story that your favorite novelist could have done more with? Do it! Just get the words out!

So I hope those tips help out. I may even take myself up on them!

My wish is good writing to you all, and may the words come as smoothly as free-flowing milk chocolate.

Mmmmm, chocolate...


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer goes on and Harry Potter Mania

Wow, it's been awhile since I've been on here! Sorry, I hope some of you peeps are still out there!

I don't know about you, but I'm flipping my lid, ready for the last Harry Potter movie. In fact, since I wasn't able to attend the really cool "Potter Week" where you can watch every movie in the theater before the midnight premiere, I'm running one at home. I watched the first two last night, got through "Prisoner of Azkaban" this morning, and tonight it's on to "Goblet of Fire!"

I want to take a moment to look at how much these guys have grown up through the series:

How crazy is that? Watching a Behind the Scenes, Emma Watson said when she got the part at 9 years old, she was still losing baby teeth. Daniel Radcliffe said he was in the bath when he found out; his parents hadn't wanted him to audition.

Check these out as well:

Yeah, it's a bit of a difference.

I've loved Harry Potter since my sister introduced it to me. I remember soaring through the first book, and then when I saw the first movie--which happened when me, my sister, her husband, and their oldest daughter had just got back into town from Kansas City and barely made the evening show--I was blown away. I took to the books like a crackhead. And to this day, they remain a pure joy for me.

What drew me in was not only the great style of writing (it appeals to both kids and adults, which is an amazing draw by itself), but of course the characters. Young Harry, finding out he's a wizard, being held back by his wizard-hating Muggle aunt and uncle, developing a hero complex and being thrust into adventure after adventure. The others--Ron, Hermione, McGonagall, Hagrid, Moody, Tonks, Lupin, Snape, Fred, George, Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, Malfoy, Lucius, Voldemort--every one was just as fascinating as the next. I could identify a bit with every one.

I remember going to the bookstore at midnight for the release of "Order of the Phoenix," the fifth book. And then the sixth, "The Half-Blood Prince." By the time the last book came out, I was working at Waldenbooks, and worked the midnight release. We announced to everyone that if one person spoiled the book for anyone else, there would be hell to pay. Seeing those sealed up boxes for days, and not being able to open them, had been hell.

It was such a bittersweet moment when I got to read "Deathly Hallows." I was dying to know what happened, and sad that the journey was over. I remember holding my breath, racing through the book even though I wanted to go slow and savor it.

It takes me away to a great place, where magic is what most people imagine it to be, where friendship, loyalty and bravery go toe to toe with maliciousness, cruelty, and revenge. Each character is flawed. That's a great thing. And I know so many who have grown up with the characters as well.

Now, I have an even better relationship with the series: it's helping my autistic son tap into his imagination. Yesterday, out of the blue, he took my besom (broom) off the wall, and began riding it as we watched "The Sorcerer's Stone." He then became frantic to find a pair of glasses, and then pointed at his forehead. I promptly took my eyeliner and gave him a lightning bolt on his forehead. For over half an hour, he flew along with Harry as he played Quidditch--changing into a red shirt as we do not yet have a cloak for him--and it was marvelous to watch. He would recite along with the movie at parts, and it made my heart burst with joy.

As any parent of a special needs child knows, it can be damn hard to connect with your child, much less get into their imagination. The fact that Harry Potter is helping my son do just that, it goes beyond words for me.

So as I go along with my Potter-thon at home, preparing for the Double Dose of "Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2" on Thursday, I have to say: Thank you, J.K. Rowling. You created a world that is always going to live on. It is a place adults and children alike can love and escape into, and it brings people together (even if my husband hates it). Thank you for what you made. It is something I think all we writers and would-be writers aspire to do.

Share your thoughts! What does Harry Potter mean to you? What's your favorite Potter memory/quote/scene/character?

The twins have really grown on me. And looking at the fabulous James and Oliver Phelps, can you really wonder why? /laugh/ I loved the characters, thought Fred and George were great. The fact that the actors are not exactly hard on the eyes is a bonus.

So here's one more, because they're just so damn handsome: